Harristown demolishing building to make room for six-story office project in downtown Harrisburg

Demolition of the former Coronet restaurant building at 21 S. Second St. in Harrisburg will pave the way for a new six-story commercial building being planned by Harristown Enterprises. The new building is seen in the middle of this rendering. - (Photo / Submitted)

The most active development company in downtown Harrisburg is about to get even busier with a new commercial project near Market Square.

Harristown Enterprises Inc., owner of the mixed-use Strawberry Square complex, has hired Susquehanna Township-based A.P. Williams to oversee asbestos remediation and eventually demolition of the long-vacant Coronet restaurant building at 21 S. Second St., which is next to the Crowne Plaza hotel.

Tearing down the vacant and blighted three-story building will make room for a new six-story commercial building that will cater to professional office users and first-floor retail, said Brad Jones, Harristown’s president and CEO. 

Harristown, which has been overhauling properties along South Third Street to add new apartments and bring shops and restaurants, is planning to connect the new office building with the historic building next door. The latter, home to law firm SkarlotosZonarich, would be renovated. The combined facility would have about 50,000 square feet of commercial space.

“Rehabilitation is always our preference when working on an old building, but unfortunately this former restaurant had severe water damage and asbestos and couldn’t be saved,” Jones said. “However, we believe if combined with a renovation of the adjacent law firm building there is great potential to create a wonderful new mixed-use office complex.”

A Harristown affiliate acquired the property in August for $150,000. Remediation and demolition began this week and should take until February to complete, and is expected to cost another $275,000, Jones said.

Once Harristown secures an anchor tenant, construction is expected to take about nine months. The total investment has been estimated at $10 million to $12 million. Harristown is pursuing financial assistance through the state’s Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program, or RACP, which is matching grant program, along with the Building PA loan program.

Construction could begin next spring or summer, Jones said. Harristown is hoping to attract multiple office tenants before the start.

The new commercial project would complement other recent Harristown investments. The company has added multiple retailers and restaurants in and around Strawberry Square, including Fresa Bistro and a relocated Rite Aid store. A new grocery store called Provisions will soon open along with a new fast-casual Asian restaurant called Freshido and a primary-care medical practice owned by PinnacleHealth.

Harristown also has developed nearly 60 apartment units downtown over the last two years.

Jason Scott
Jason Scott covers state government, real estate and construction, media and marketing, and Dauphin and Cumberland counties. Have a tip or question for him? Email him at jscott@cpbj.com.

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